The first casualty of the Congressional race didn’t even make it to primary day, as Centreville attorney John Leo Walter ended his effort at winning the First District seat and endorsed his fellow challenger, State Senator Andy Harris.
In the press release, what I found most interesting was the quote from Governor Ehrlich:
John represents the future of the Republican Party in Maryland. He is steadfast in his convictions and conservative on the issues. The Republican Party needs a solid farm team to be successful in the future and John is one of the brightest members of that team.
Having spoken on a few occasions to John, I couldn’t agree more. While I endorsed Andy Harris a few weeks back, Walter was a close second. Aside from a disagreement in principle on the issue of tort reform, I found myself closely aligned with many of John’s positions, and it’s a shame that this race brought out two good candidates when only one could win. Meanwhile, the Republicans are having trouble filling out the ballot in two nearby Congressional districts.
It’s just idle speculation, but I wonder if there may be a quid pro quo going here, particularly since Walter lives in the same District 36 that E.J. Pipkin represents in the State Senate. If Pipkin should win this time or decide to run again for Congress in 2010, obviously John becomes the leading candidate to replace Pipkin or the Delegate who moves up to assume Pipkin’s Senate seat. By getting behind Andy Harris quickly in this effort, Walter gains the favor of two of the three men who would arguably be the most influential Republicans in Maryland if Harris wins the Congressional seat.
Walter’s departure won’t change the face of the race a whole lot, since it’s doubtful that he was getting more than 10% of the vote. But it does unite the conservative wing a little bit more, and with competition for right-wing voters likely the linchpin of the primary race, even gaining a 5% share of the vote will assist Harris in his efforts to unseat Wayne Gilchrest.
This also brings up another thought. I must have 50 to 100 “Walter for Congress” buttons in my possession from his visits to the WCRC and other campaign stops, plus a few bumper stickers and a bunch of literature. Too bad that except for the bumper stickers they’re dated 2008. I guess it’s one less bag for me to lug to party events though. (People may wonder why I have such a collection, but monoblogue isn’t the only weapon I use to inform voters.)
So it’s back to five on the GOP side. Since yesterday was the last day to withdraw from the ballot, the field’s now set.
Another item of interest to me is the field hoping to be elected delegates to the respective national party conventions. On the Lower Shore, four are seeking to head to Denver as Democrats and eight Republicans look for their ticket to Minneapolis.
The Democrat list has one quite prominent woman of local repute among them. I’ll list the contenders in alphabetical order, ladies first since the Democrats segregate by gender, with the candidate they’re pledged to in parentheses.
- Sandra Henry-Stocker, Dorchester (Barack Obama)
- Barrie Parsons Tilghman, Wicomico (Hillary Clinton)
- Jack Hughes, Wicomico (Hillary Clinton)
- Don Westbrook, Worcester (John Edwards)
The GOP is more equal opportunity, but splits the lists between delegates and alternates. Aspirants need not be pledged to a candidate.
- Gail Bartkovich, Wicomico (Rudy Giuliani)
- Addie Eckardt, Dorchester (Mitt Romney)
- Bonnie Luna, Wicomico (not committed)
- Jeanne Lynch, Worcester (not committed)
- Greg Belcher, Wicomico (not committed)
- John Daliani, Worcester (not committed)
- Dottie Griffith, Dorchester (Mitt Romney)
- Ryan Hohman, Wicomico (Ron Paul)
All of these candidates are part of a much more crowded First District field. A total of 14 Democrats (7 of each gender) and 45 Republicans (23 for delegate, 22 for alternate) make for a LONG ballot.
Crossposted on Red Maryland.